Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender, any of the characters, nor rights. I am a simple, albeit untalented, wordsmith.
This occurs between the final battle and the scene in the Jasmine Dragon in the finale.
The Kiss: Epilogue
Two women were sitting and drinking tea. They had been having a conversation. As the conversation lulled for a moment, the younger of the two lifted her cup to her lips, sipping slowly, taking her time to enjoy the flavor of the tea.
Slowly, with much thought, she set the cup down on the table. She had come to love Jasmine tea. It held so many good memories. It didn't hurt that it had a soothing and calming effect, too.
Suki, who was the older of the two women, asked a question that had been niggling her thoughts for a while now. "So, are you a little nervous?"
"Yes," the younger woman replied. "I'm nervous, yet I'm also so excited. All my life seems to have been preparing me for this."
As she said this, Katara (for that is who the younger of the two was) smiled softly. Then, with a quick change, her smile brightened. "Aang told me that Avatar Roku once told him 'Love will find a way'. And it did. In spite of all our missteps, in spite of all that stood against us, Aang and I........ Well, now, here we are."
"Yes, here you are," laughed Suki
'Yes, here we are,' thought Katara with a dreamy look on her face. She thought of all that had happened to bring Aang and herself to this point. It seemed like a miracle, yet she knew, knew, that she was destined to stand alongside Aang. To be his point of reference, his anchor in the world. And Aang.... Aang was destined to be her hero, her love, their story the great love story of all time. Her Aang. How she loved the sound of that. For so long she had worried that she was being presumptuous, that he deserved better than what she could offer. Yet, after nearly losing each other, they both realized their love for each other. That was what today was all about.
After their first mutual kiss at the Fire Nation palace, then their second kiss at Iroh's tea house in Ba Sing Se, they had ventured to the South Pole, where Aang had presented himself to Hakoda to ask his permission to court and eventually marry Katara.
A nervous and self-conscious Aang was sitting before Katara and Sokka's father, Hakoda. Pakku, Kanna, and Sokka were arrayed around the chief of the Southern Water Tribe.
"Chief Hakoda," Aang began, "I have had the honor and privilege to have your son, Sokka, and daughter, Katara, fight alongside of me. If it weren't for them, Katara especially, I would never have been able to overcome Ozai."
As Aang was saying this, Hakoda was listening with hidden amusement. Sokka had already told him about Aang and Katara. Hadn't he, himself, observed how much she cared for Aang when he was unconscious following Bah Sing Se? When Aang had returned for Sokka before that battle, the expression on his face was enough of a testament for anyone who could see that Katara meant more to him than what he let on. And, now....Now he was here to ask for the right to court Katara.
"She has been my anchor in all that has happened, and I can't think of life without her. So, I would like to ask your permission to court Katara and to marry her when we are both of age."
Hakoda kept his smile hidden for the moment as he asked, "How will you support my daughter? Marriage is a major commitment, after all."
"Well, sir, there is plenty of land around the temples that can be farmed, and there are many people who are looking for homes now that the war is over. I was thinking of renting some of the land out and selling some outright. All I would ask is a percentage of the crops."
"Very good, but what about my grandchildren? How will you raise them if you and Katara are traipsing all over the world?"
"Sir, that is something for the future, but Katara will stay with the children until they are of an age to travel. I will always come home to her. She is my world. Without her I couldn't....I wouldn't know what to do. I love her and will do everything I can to make her happy."
As he said this, Aang remembered that time not so very long ago when he had been willing to live his life void of any happiness, just so Katara could be happy. Now, he was asking her father to bless their courtship, because he now knew she was happy with him.
"Well, Aang, I believe you have the best intentions towards Katara, and I also believe you have her well being in mind....."
As Hakoda was speaking, Kanna looked at Pakku and smiled. She knew her son well, and he was being the father he had missed being while he was away during the war. Pakku, for his part, thought of the fiery young woman who had defied him at the North Pole. As he looked at this young man, the Avatar, before him, he saw just how much they fit together.
"......therefore, I give you my permission to court Katara."
Aang gave a cheerful yell, then suddenly remembered where he was and quietly bowed to Hakoda.
Hakoda looked at Sokka, winked, and smiled, as Sokka smiled back. Though Sokka would still be there for his sister, he was on the road to passing the mantle of protecting her to Aang.
In another room, Sokka, Hakoda, and Aang were talking.
"Well, Aang, this is the first step to a new life. Are you sure you're up to it?" asked Sokka.
"Yeah, I am. This is the day I've been dreaming about for several years." Aang replied.
After receiving Hakoda's permission to court Katara, Aang spent the intervening years maintaining the peace and order that had been denied the world for 100 years. He was constantly shuttling back and forth between the 3 nations. However, every spare moment he had was spent in the Southern Water Tribe with Katara and her family. Sometimes he would take her on a picnic or some other trip just to spend time with her, to nurture their love. Occasionally she even accompanied him on some of his trips, with a protective older brother along, of course. There had been Zuko and Mai's wedding, Sokka and Suki's wedding, attending Earth Rumble VIII where Toph retook her title.
Even when he was away Aang would send messages by hawk to Katara, telling her about what he was doing, how everything was working out. Aang had even invited Hakoda, Kanna, and Pakku along at different intervals, to let them know of his love for them as Katara's family, and his eventual family as well.
As time went on, Katara and Aang's love for each other grew even deeper. Her family, who had already accepted Aang, came to see what she saw in him. Everywhere he went, his maturity and wisdom, as well as his humility and sense of justice impressed everyone.
In the meantime, Katara studied the Air Nomads and their culture. She wanted to be able to share as much of Aang's life as possible. She began learning to cook the dishes the Air Nomads were famous for, even going so far as to learn how to use water bending to whip up the toppings and fillings of the Southern fruit pies that Aang and Gyatso had made so long ago.
"Aang, I would like you to have this," Hakoda said as he handed Aang a set of matching bracelets made from sandalwood. "In the Southern Water Tribe, it is customary for the mother and father of the groom to give the couple something to remember their families with. I know you are alone, so I decided to stand in as your father. Katara has commented on how important sandalwood was to your people, so this is a way for both of you to remember your people."
Aang's eyes filled with tears of joy as he accepted the bracelets. The fragrance of sandalwood filled the room as he thanked Hakoda. The words of Guru Pathik came back to him.........
"The Air Nomads love for you has not left this world. It is still inside of your heart, and is reborn in the form of new love." Not only the love of Katara, but her whole family as well.
"Hey, it's time to go," said Sokka. "Dad, you had better go get Katara."
As Hakoda left the room, Sokka clasped Aang in a brotherly hug. "I'm so happy this day finally came. And I'm honored that you asked me to stand with you again."
So saying, they hurried out to the front of the temple. There, Aang saw all of the friends he had made through the years. As he took his place he heard everyone murmuring. He turned and saw Suki and Toph walking down the aisle. This was the only time he knew of that Toph had not fought wearing a dress. She and Suki both looked lovely. As they reached the front of the gathering, across from Aang and Sokka, a quiet descended upon all those gathered. Then, he saw her. Katara entered, looking more beautiful than ever. Her dress emphasized her beauty, and the ceremonial robe she was wearing seemed to flow with her as she walked next to Hakoda. She looked neither left nor right. Rather, her eyes were fixed on one person, Aang. A shy smile played upon her lips as she glided up to the altar.
For his part, Aang felt his smile couldn't be any bigger or else his whole face would split apart.
The day he had long dreamed of was finally here. He felt almost as if he were awakening from the ice berg all over again. Only this time, he didn't have a war he was waking up to. Instead, he had the future, his and Katara's future. Whatever came, whatever happened, he knew one thing was certain. They would face the future together, as husband and wife.
As Katara took her place at the altar, she still couldn't take her eyes off of Aang. She barely heard the words of the priest as he started the ceremony. When it came time to say their vows, she felt as if she were dreaming. Yet, it was quite real. Finally came the words she and Aang had both been waiting to hear for so long,: "I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
How to describe that kiss? It wasn't sweet and innocent like their first kiss in the Cave of Two Lovers. Nor was it hurried like the kiss on the day of black sun. Not guilty and rushed like the kiss at the Ember Island theater. It was as passionate and as sweet as the kiss at the Fire Nation palace and as the kiss at Iroh's Jasmine Dragon. But, this kiss was even better than those. This kiss had in it the promise of forever, the excitement of a new adventure. As Katara and Aang claimed each other's lips, sealing the vows they had just taken, the thought of anything or anyone other than each other vanished from their minds.
Too soon, they broke apart as the need for air overcame them.
"I love you, Katara." Aang breathlessly whispered.
"I love you, too, my love," Katara replied as she dove in for one more kiss. One more moment to themselves before they had to meet and spend time with their friends and family.
bìng yúshì fúshìzhíwù xi-n báshè zhu-sho(u
(And thus the new journey begins...........)